Alex Perekrest and Red Giant – 1

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This article, published in four parts, is the product of an unlikely friendship that only Facebook could facilitate.

Red Giant are the unsung heroes of Stoner Rock. Their first album, ‘Ultra-Magnetic Glowing Sound’, is described by iTunes as ‘unquestionably one of the finest stoner rock releases of the 90s, or any other decade’. Their following releases, ‘Devil Child Blues’ and ‘Dysfunctional Majesty’ are even better.

I discovered them accidentally while googling ‘High on Fire’ and was almost disturbed by how good they were. Their albums, however, were all that google could find; there were no interviews, articles, or even a wikipedia entry to mark their existence in the galaxy that comprises the information superhighway.

I found Alex on Facebook and after some stalking, established that he was indeed the RG vocalist and lead guitarist. I sent him a note and heard… nothing for six months. He eventually found my missive in his outbox, however, and replied in the affirmative.

It took another twelve months to get the interview, but he waxed lyrical on all subjects germane to Red Giant and its slow burn toward oblivion.

How long have Red Giant being going for?

Red Giant formed in the late summer of 1990. It happened in High School art class. We were assigned seats at the same table and after figuring out that we were all Star Wars fans, we quickly took to causing mayhem and inside joke hilarity. We had long hair then and shared a love for heavy music. And, of course, the 70’s.

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High school art class (L to R): Damien Perry, Chris Gorman, Brian Skinner, Alex Perekrest.

How did you choose the name?

It was suggested to me by a close friend. Paul Tempest. Paul is a rare breed of individual. I was exposed to some hugely influential music, film, art and suburbia punk culture due to that guy. Masters of Reality, for instance. And years later, Kyuss. But especially Soundgarden

Anyways, we were kicking around names that had to do with the sun, including “Sun”, lol. So Paul suggests Red Giant, which I didn’t like at first. Then I learned the meaning of the term. I really connected with the concept of a dying, expanded sun, eating planets and burning red. I ran it by the guys and was surprised to meet zero opposition. And that was that.

‘Stoner’ doesn’t really do much to describe anything. Do you think RG fits the label, or has been applied after the fact, by others?

Both… neither… hard to say. BEING “stoners” was an aspect of Red Giant since the very early 90’s. Acid played a huge role, too, in those early days when we were slipping from just heavy to psychedelic.

Space Punk is what we came up with to describe ourselves, then the term “Stoner rock” was coined, probably [in relation to] the website, stonerrock.com. I don’t consider it a throw-away term or something to be embarrassed by, but it is kind of silly and barely scratches the surface of a wealth of phenomenal music. But I love weed, so…

Your sound has changed considerably across your albums. What has influenced those changes?

It’s a little like working in reverse. We made Psychoblaster and the Misuse of Power as a concept album with really long songs and many different parts, going from clean and trippy to fuzzed mayhem riffage. We were able to do it fast, just a few days, so there was this “screw it” mentality which led to a real rawness.

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Ultra Magnetic Glowing Sound was an offshoot of that approach, only we took a very long time to complete it. We built on the experience of Psychoblaster… and honed our approach, while engaging a great deal more experimentation. But clean-to-dirty changes, and crazy jam sections grew cumbersome for performing live.

Devil Child Blues was written with the intention to never turn down the overdrive/fuzz. It was the first time we recorded at home, so we had unlimited time and freedom to trim the fat and just turn up and rock, without shedding the fun craziness.

Dysfunctional Majesty is an interesting story and really, for us, it is it’s own little miracle/second chance. The writing process began with a new drummer, our boy Andy Masalko from Canton, Ohio’s Stoneslinger.

I had smashed a finger while splitting logs that winter and couldn’t play guitar for a month or so. But we blasted through learning songs, and lyrics and melodies were written on the spot. All totally coke-fueled. Damien and I were both going through ugly breakups and then Andy up and left. For good.

We started playing the blame game and chasing the high and Red Giant ended. We were barely speaking, really. I slummed around with a few random bands/projects and that eventually led to meeting my wife. We got engaged out of the blue and married a few months later.

By that time, the friendships in Red Giant were repaired, though no plans to play together again. About a month after we married, the wife and I were out drinking with friends, hopping around from this person’s house to the bar, back to someone else’s house…

In other words, I was conducting business as usual, but the wife was getting drunk. We got into an argument, and both of us being Leos, things escalated and she took a steak knife to go cut herself. I attempted to diffuse the situation by demanding she give me the knife. So she did. By stabbing me in the chest. Missed my heart by almost nothing, but punctured my lung….

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